Tuesday, November 13, 2007



No argument is more freqently visited amongst those who keep hedgehogs than that of what is best to feed them. There are several commercial hedgehog foods on the market (8 in 1, Brisky's, L'Avian, Select Diet) but they can be hard to find, and not all of them are the best choice of nutrition for your pet. (Check out our Food Reviews page for a more in depth look at specific foods.) What a hedgehog needs as it's main diet is simple to provide as long as you are willing to do a little label reading. Most commonly these requirements can be met by a mix (around 3 foods is best) of high quality cat food, and many hedgehogs have lived healthy and long lives on this kind of diet. While it may sound complicated to begin with, there are really only two basic steps to remember :
1.) You will need to look for a food that has 30% or more protein, and around 15% fat (20% at the upper end). This is very important to make sure your hedgehog has enough energy and doesn't become overweight. A fat content much lower than 15%, or higher than 20% could possibly lead to an overweight hedgehog or other health issues.

2.) The food you choose should have quality ingredients at the top of it's list. A whole meat or meat meal (chicken, beef, lamb) should be one of your top few ingredients. Watch out for general by products or digests (meat by product, poultry by product, poultry digest) as these tend to be the bits and peices left over from the processing of the better parts of the meat and may include such things as hooves, beaks, feathers, and skin. You will also want to watch the corn content of the food. Unfortunately most feeds use corn as an inexpensive filler, and while a small amount of well processed corn is tolerable (and almost impossible to avoid!) it is important to avoid foods who have large quantities of corn or less processed corn (cracked or ground corn) as these do nothing to help your hedgehog and can cause digestive problems when fed in excess long term.
All hedgehogs should get occasional treats from the table. Unspiced chicken, tuna and salmon are big favorites, as are bits of cooked egg and many fruits and vegetables. Cottage cheese and yogurt are okay, but other dairy products should not be given as they can cause an upset stomach. With any new treat give only a small amount to begin with, just in case it doesn't agree with your hedgehogs digestion. Treats of mealworms or crickets are enjoyable, but not necessary, and should never be given in large amounts due to the high fat content. You don't have to feed insects live, but it can be fun watching your hedgie hop around after it's lunch!! Which leads to our next, and possibly most important topic...

Picture By : thaipetonline.com

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